Stocks trade flat despite a big drop in consumer sentiment

Stocks were little changed Friday as gains for technology and health care companies are checked by weakness in energy and other sectors.

Investors had little reaction to economic data that showed a drop in consumer confidence last month due to the delta variant of the coronavirus.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% as of 11:36 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34 points, or 0.1%, to 35,534 and the Nasdaq rose less than 0.1%. Both the benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow are on pace for weekly gains. Small-company stocks fell. The Russell 2000 was down 0.5%.

Technology companies made some of the broadest gains. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices rose 4.2%. Healthcare companies also gained ground. Pfizer rose 1.6% and Moderna rose 0.5% after U.S. regulators authorized a booster shot of their COVID-19 vaccines for people with weakened immune systems.

Disney rose 2.7% after the company returned to a profit last quarter, helped by the reopening of its theme parks and more subscribers to its Disney+ service.

Bond yields edged lower, which weighed on banks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.32% from 1.34% late Thursday. JPMorgan Chase fell 1.1%.

Investors got an unexpectedly bad reading on the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which fell to 70.2 from its previous level of 81.2 in July. That was the largest drop in sentiment since April 2020, when the pandemic took its initial grip on the country.

The drop in the survey’s reading was almost entirely due to the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which has caused hospitals to fill up with unvaccinated patients across the U.S.

Trading is likely to remain quiet while many on Wall Street take a traditional vacation in late August before things pick up again in September.